Bicycle taxis are weaving through the clogged streets of midtown Manhattan in a movement growing so rapidly that the city is proposing regulations before it spins out of control. Known as pedicabs, these vehicles look like giant tricycles with a passenger carriage in the back. Some tourists and New Yorkers see them as an affordable, pollution-free way to see the city and sail through gridlock.
I really do think that this could work in DC. Were I a young MBA graduate, I might even start a business doing this. You have a large supply of bicycle couriers who could work off-hours for extra money. You could move people around Adams Morgan at night, crowds from Verizon and RFK after games, and move tourists between the Capitol and Washington Monument on Jefferson and Madison avenues during the tourist season (competing with the new circulator) to name a few routes. According to this article moving people from a stadium to their car in the parking lot is a big moneymaker (and a sad commentary on American life).
In Denver, pedicabs tend to operate on nights and weekends, during ballgames and other events that require people to walk several blocks from parking areas or light-rail stops.
Ed Oliver, who is Meyer's partner in the Denver pedicab operation, said he often drives a pedicab around the Pepsi Center parking lot, offering free rides during events. In most cases, passengers wind up tipping him at least $5 a ride.
"People hate walking across parking lots," Meyer said.
With a new St. Louis Cardinals ballpark set to open in April, a budding pedicab operator awaits her order from Main Street Pedicabs.
"We want to get a business started just to and fro," said St. Louis resident Jill Saettele, an avid cyclist who found Main Street Pedicabs on the Internet. "The parking (at the new stadium) is very limited, so they're doing shuttles. This is the most fantastic opportunity."
The pedicabs have caught on most in urban environments, but have also captured the attention of an array of communities with a shortage of downtown parking.
I think it's only a matter of time before these pop up here. DC residents are at least as lazy as people in Denver. The pedicabs are cheaper AND faster than traditional taxis and great for tourists. One might argue that the summers are too hot and the winters too cold, but the goal is mostly to get people who would walk, not people who would take a regular taxi - except when the weather is nice. Though as a friend of mine pointed out, the name 'pedicab' is...not good. Sounds like a cab that should be found on a known sex offender list.